The Most Popular Nail Shapes of 2021, According to Nail Pros

Sam Escobar, Blake Bakkila
·3-min read
Photo credit: Marccophoto - Getty Images
Photo credit: Marccophoto - Getty Images

From Good Housekeeping

Heading to the nail salon or taking time for a DIY manicure is always a treat, but with so many shaping options, it can be tricky to choose. Should you do almond? Try square? Squoval? We asked nail professionals for the scoop on what nail shapes are in style and most popular so you can find the best one for your hands.

First, to find the best nail shape to flatter your hands and fingers, first check your cuticles, advises Fleury Rose, a celebrity nail artist in Brooklyn, New York. If you have an oval cuticle shape, she recommends matching it with an oval nail shape.

Here, our guide to the different nail tip shapes, including options for short, long, natural, and acrylic nails, whether you're looking for something classy, simple, fun, or a strong statement shape so you know what to ask for at the salon or create yourself for a perfect manicure:

1. Round-Shaped Nails

This simple shape is perfect for short nails (even nail biters!), extending only slightly past your nail bed and maintaining its natural shape. It's also the most popular nail shape: When they visit the salon, most women opt for this classic silhouette, Rose reveals. This shape is also perfect if you want strong nails, recommends Ava Shamban, M.D., a dermatologist in Los Angeles and author of Heal Your Skin. With this shape, nails are less likely to tear or break, making them healthier.

2. Square-Shaped Nails

If you want a shape other than a natural rounded one that doesn't take a ton of effort to maintain, try a square style with the tip filed flat. You don't need much of a tip to achieve it, so this look is great for shorter nails. If you're concerned with short or chubby fingers, though, Rose says to grow nails out a bit longer: "Short and square is the hardest shape to wear, as it can make hands appear stumpy."

3. Rounded Square-Shaped Nails

This version of square nails is popular and universally flattering for a reason: It's a little softer than its more angular counterpart, but still looks put-together and is a great canvas for simple nail art.

4. Oval-Shaped Nails

If you have longer nails and desire a more feminine look, try this shape. Oval nails also make your hands look longer, so if you want to slim the appearance of your fingers, this is a good way to go.

5. Squoval-Shaped Nails

As you might guess by its mashup name, this style combines the angular contouring of square nails with the length of oval nails. It's great if your tips have some length and you prefer a bit more dimension that square or oval.

6. Coffin or Ballerina-Shaped Nails

If you have naturally long, sturdy nails and have the urge to try something unconventional, ask for this extended, tapered shape with a flat squared-off tip. Or test the style out with coffin or ballerina-shaped faux nails, like Kiss Gold Finger Gel Glam Ready-to-Wear Gel Manicure.

7. Almond-Shaped Nails

To take oval nails up a notch, try an almond shape. Narrow and ending with a rounded tip, this shape elongates your hands and makes them look more slender. Try a formula like Good Housekeeping Beauty Award winner Isdin SI-Nails Nail Strengthener to help nails grow longer and stronger.

8. Stiletto-Shaped Nails

While perhaps not the most practical, this nail shape definitely makes a statement. If you want to try it out, look for pointy press-on nails, like Ecbasket Stiletto Nails Acrylic Fake Nail Tips.

9. Lipstick-Shaped Nails

This funky angled nail shape has a niche fan base. It could be fun for a special event — but like stiletto nails, proceed with caution, especially near your eyes!

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